#5Books: Book recs and The Resident

#5Books for the week ending 15 July 2018

No, not the TV show, the movie, because yes there’s a movie about a medical resident and it stars Hilary Swank and Jeffery Dean Morgan. It’s a thriller, and JDM is a landlord who gets obsessed with Hilary Swank’s character, which is actually kind of funny because he was her character’s love interest in PS I Love You (cutest movie ever, especially with JDM with an almost-Irish accent).

But anyway, the point of all this is I realised I kind of miss seeing Hilary Swank in movies — whatever happened to her?

You know how this movie ends, right, so I’m going to move right on to the book recs

A Spark of Light 

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding

Have you Picoult-ed?  I feel like I must be the only person under the sun who hasn’t, and this one sounds like an emotional wrenching one to begin with. Bc that’s how I roll when I want to read a new author: I want my heart ripped out and to be a blubbering mess. Nods.

The Girl From Blind River 

A gritty tale of how far we’ll go to protect the ones we love for fans of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Emma Cline’s The Girls from Gale Massey, a talented new name in crime fiction.

Everyone says the Elders family are nothing but cheats, thieves, and convicts—a fact nineteen-year old Jamie Elders has been trying desperately to escape. She may have the natural talent of a poker savant, but her dreams of going pro and getting the hell out of the tiny town of Parsons, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal.

At Loyal’s beck and call until her debt is repaid, Jamie can’t easily walk away—not with her younger brother Toby left at his mercy. So when Loyal demands Jamie’s help cleaning up a mess late one night, she has no choice but to agree. But disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s most powerful judge goes beyond family duty. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and Loyal pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it—and face the consequences.

Right about now, I am rubbing my hands in glee at the prospect of this one! Family is always good for an emotional hook to a bad situation, but I didn’t expect her Uncle to be the one sinking his claws into her, and her brother. Throw in a powerful judge and you’d wonder what on earth is Loyal dragging Jamie into?

Tell me you’re mine 

In this riveting domestic suspense debut, a woman’s life shatters when she meets a girl she believes is the daughter she lost years ago–and she finds that reclaiming the life she lost might cost her the life she has. Tell Me You’re Mine is a story of guilt, grief, and the delicate balance between love and obsession.

Where is the line between hope and madness?

Three women: one who believes she has found her long lost daughter, one terrified she’s about to lose her child, and one determined to understand who she truly is.

Stella Widstrand is a psychotherapist, a happily married mother to a thirteen-year-old son. But when a young woman named Isabelle steps into her clinic to begin therapy, Stella’s placid life begins to crumble. She is convinced that Isabelle is her daughter, Alice. The baby that tragically disappeared more than twenty years ago on a beach during a family vacation. Alice is believed to have drowned, but her body was never found. Stella has always believed that Alice is alive, somewhere–but everyone around her worries she’s delusional. Could this be Alice? 

Stella will risk everything to answer that question, but in doing so she will set in motion a sequence of events beyond her control, endangering herself and everyone she loves.

This book subverts the – well mine anyway – expectations readers might have of a plot like this by making the mother, the woman looking for her child, someone almost malevolent. And interestingly, Isabelle’s mother – or the woman who could have kidnapped her is mentioned in the beginning, but not after that – in fact Isobel is too. Are their POVs big parts of the book? Bc it kinda sounds like this is about Stella only, right?


An Army veteran and intelligence agent goes undercover as a janitor at a federal courthouse to pursue his own brand of justice in a thriller that’s part John Grisham, part Robert Crais. 

When Paul McGrath was a young man, he rebelled against his pacifist father by becoming a stand-out Army recruit, the star of his military intelligence unit. But lingering regrets about their relationship made him return home, only to find his father dead, seemingly murdered. And when the murder trial ended in a hung jury–with just one hold-out among the jurors–something didn’t smell right to McGrath. So he put his arsenal of skills to work to find out just how corrupt the legal system was. And to keep digging, he got himself a job at the courthouse. But not as a lawyer or a clerk. 

Now, McGrath is a janitor. The perfect cover, it gives him security clearance and access to the entire building. No one notices him, but he notices everyone. He notices when witnesses suddenly change their stories. When jury members reverse their votes during deliberation. When armies of corporate attorneys grind down their small-time adversaries with endless tactical shenanigans. And while McGrath knows that nothing he discovers can undo his past wrongs or save his father, he finds his new position brings him something else: the chance to right current wrongs and save others. And by doing so–just maybe–to find redemption for himself. 

The idea of an outsider POV on a courthouse and the things that we — and by that I mean me — take for granted in a legal thriller — LOVE IT. It seems like a breath of fresh air and POV on a genre that needs it.

The Burglar

From the New York Times bestselling author Thomas Perry, “who can be depended upon to deliver high-voltage shocks” (Stephen King), comes a new thriller about an unlikely burglar–a young woman in her 20s–who realizes she must solve a string of murders, or else become the next victim 

Elle Stowell is a young woman with an unconventional profession: burglary. But Elle is no petty thief–with just the right combination of smarts, looks, and skills, she can easily stroll through ritzy Bel Air neighborhoods and pick out the perfect home for plucking the most valuable items. This is how Elle has always gotten by–she is good at it, and she thrives on the thrill. But after stumbling upon a grisly triple homicide while stealing from the home of a wealthy art dealer, Elle discovers that she is no longer the only one sneaking around. Somebody is searching for her. 

As Elle realizes that her knowledge of the high-profile murder has made her a target, she races to solve the case before becoming the next casualty, using her breaking-and-entering skills to uncover the truth about exactly who the victims were and why someone might have wanted them dead. With high-stakes action and shocking revelations, The Burglar will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they barrel towards the heart-racing conclusion. 

A female burglar solving a mystery? YES, thank you, but okay mostly, I’m thrilled at the idea of a female burglar like Elle, who dives right into solving a mystery. I am all for more books with female characters kicking ass and taking names like this!


  • Angela says:

    I like Jodi Picoult’s books, even if they are a bit formulaic. They almost always focus on some big social issue.

    • Verushka says:

      I do like the stuff she deals with, and yeah, I’d forgive the formulaic stuff if it was good, you know? And by all her accounts her books always are.

  • I’ve had my eye on The Girl From Blind River for some time now and featured it ages ago in Can’t Wait Wednesday— and then apparently forgot about it. In some good news, I finally tracked down a copy of Lonely Girl from Abe Books and it’s on its way to me now. I’ve wanted it ever since I first saw it here.

    Another great week of awesome book choices!

    • Verushka says:

      Ooooh, Barb, I hope you enjoy Lonely Girl. I still feel unsettled thinking about it. Do have an interview with the author coming up towards the end of next week too.

  • Ooh I hadn’t heard of The Burglar but I’m all about that premise. It sounds awesome!


  • Oooh, I had such a crush on JDM when he played on Grey’s Anatomy.

    I’ve been eyeing that Jodi Picoult book too. I usually really enjoy her books even though they can occasionally be predictable. This ones just sounds so timely that I can’t help but be intrigued by it.

  • Sam@WLABB says:

    My mistake was that my first Picoult was the co-write with her daughter. It was meh, but I gave her another shot, because she is so well loved, and liked her solo work better.

  • Jen Mullen says:

    So many possibilities here! I think…maybe Untouchable and The Burglar would be my first choices. I had a disappointing Jodi Picoult several years ago and quit reading her. Maybe I should give her another try.

  • Greg says:

    Wow nice picks this week. The Girl From Blind River sounds AWESOME, and so does The Burglar and Tell Me You’re Mine. I am loving all the good thrillers!

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